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Full text of "Poland Russia and Great Britain 1941-1945"

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The Poles, on the other hand, were not sure of the conditions under which
the formation of their army would be carried out in the chaos existing in
Russia (Moscow appeared to be threatened and its evacuation was then in
full swing), or how the Polish soldiers themselves would react after the
hardships and misfortunes of their detention in the Soviet Union.
The Military Agreement developed and repeated Article 3 of the Treaty
of July 30th : that the Polish Army in Russia would constitute part of the
sovereign forces of the Polish Republic and have all the attributes of a
sovereign army, and its members take an oath of allegiance to Poland. The
Commander of this army would be subordinated to the Russian Comman-
der-in-Chief during operations on the Russian Front. The army itself
would be comprised of volunteers and conscripts from among Polish
citizens who had been deported to the U.S.S.R. This conscription was
to be carried out by Polish Recruiting Commissions with the assistance
of the local Soviet authorities (Article 6). Furthermore, the strength of
the Polish Forces was to be conditionally dependent solely on the number
of men enlisted (Article 4). Since, during this time, neither side knew
how the organisation of this army would progress, it was agreed at first
that two divisions were to be formed and one reserve unit—altogether
30,000 men. The Soviets insisted that the Poles should be ready on
October ist, within six weeks from the day on which the Agreement was
signed. Considering the exhausted state of their men through malnu-
trition and the ill-treatment which they had undergone in Russia, these
conditions were by no means easy for the Poles. But in any case, the
final execution of those conditions depended on how quickly the Soviets
could supply armaments and equipment. The Red Army was to equip
one division, the other was to be equipped through the Allies' aid, namely,
from British and American supplies.
Negotiations in Washington regarding the extension of the terms of the
Lend-Lease Bill to embrace Poland progressed satisfactorily, and after a
few days, on September 4th, President Roosevelt authorised the first
Lease-Lend aid to the Polish Government, stipulating that the first military
equipment was to go to the Polish troops in Canada. On November 28th,
General Sikorski stated in an interview to the Press that 50,000 complete
British outfits had reached the Polish troops in Russia and 50,000 more
were on the way. The U.S.A. was also sending 60,000 outfits.
On August I2th, 1941, the Praesidium of the Supreme Council of the
Soviet Union issued a decree which brought into effect the Protocol
appended to the Polish-Russian Agreement of July 3oth, ordering that all
Polish subjects in Russia—prisoners-of-war and deported citizens from
Poland, who had been deprived of their liberty^ should be set free.
The release from the prisons, the labour camps and the places of exile of
the surviving Polish men, women and children, began. They poured out in
their thousands, by train, and in many cases came hundreds of miles on foot
under the most appalling conditions. They all streamed in one direction